Cultural Autobiography

Autobiography about reservation living.
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  Cultural Autobiography 1 Running head: CULTURAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY Cultural Autobiography February 11, 2010  Cultural Autobiography 2 I can still remember getting up early on Sunday and all seven of us driving to church in our station wagon. Me and my brothers and sister were brought up as Christians and attended a United Methodist Church. My parents instilled good values into me and my siblings from an early age. There was no swearing, arguing, or fighting allowed at any time within our family. If any of this occurred, we know that there would be a punishment to follow. It is these good and wholesome Christian values that I believe I have passed down to my children. I try and talk through many of my children’s life trials with stories of my own tribulations growing up. Be ing a middle child, growing up on a farm, and having many bizarre “growing up” stories, I can make them realize that all of their rough times do not compare to a tough childhood. I grew up in a blue collar Native American family in a small Michigan town with a  population of 2600. My Dad worked at a conveyor manufacturing plant in Grand Rapids and my mother taught at a preschool that was run out of the church we attended. I have two older twin  brothers, a younger brother, and a younger sister. We lived on a farm and raised horses, cows, goats, sheep, a pig, and chickens. Growing up on the farm taught us to be responsible, as we had to care for the animals  by feeding and bathing them and cleaning the animal’s pens and corals. In the fall and winter months we needed to gather, cut, and split wood to be used in our wood- burning stove. Our house had a fuel oil furnace, but our parents would heat with as much wood as they could to help in saving money. Our parents were very good at managing their money and I am proud to say that I have received that trait and have also passed it onto my children. No one in our family is frivolous with money and we all have excellent money management skills. Along with the house being heated by a wood stove, my parents also grew a pretty healthy garden every year to save money. We grew tomatoes, green peppers, beans, peas, corn, carrots,  potatoes, and watermelon.  Cultural Autobiography 3 For two weeks every summer we would spend time on the reservation in Mount Pleasant. The women would sit around and talk about their children and how things were going on the reservation. The men would play horseshoes and talk about how the different employment opportunities were affecting their lives. We as kids got to just run around and be kids. It was a fun time on the reservation because we did not have to worry about what was on television or who had the better video game system. It was all about treating one another with respect and  playing with the things that the earth provided you to play with. Growing up, because we were not on the reservation, we did not speak the language of the tribe. I remember my grandparents talking to my parents and we could not understand what was being said. In turn, my father had to translate to my grandparents when we wanted to communicate with them. My grandparents are still alive and still reside on the reservation. I believe they stay there is because of the language  barrier and also because they receive so much money from the Soaring Eagle Casino. Those Indians that stay on the reservation get fifteen percent more share than those from the tribe that live elsewhere. I am proud to be a descendant of the Native American heritage and culture. I believe the stern discipline and the teaching of respect have made me what I am today. I was both made fun of while growing up and praised for being “Indian.” I had the opportunity to take a couple of my friends to the reservation and they had so much fun enjoying everything that went on there. When they would return and tell everyone how much they had that people changed the way they looked at me and my brothers and sister. As I finished high school and started going to college, I found the love of my life and married quickly. While obtaining employment as a general laborer to support my new  Cultural Autobiography 4  partnership, I found it more difficult to keep my commitment to my furthered education. After one and a half years of attending a small college, I discontinued my education and started working as much as I could. Throughout my professional career, I have held mostly management positions. First, I started as a line worker. I then became a line leader, which eventually led to an assistant supervisory position. I became the supervisor of night shift and held that position for five years,  before moving back to day shift to run the company’s newly developed quality system. I ran the company’s quality department for an additional three years before leaving the company for a  better opportunity. The next company I worked for was much larger and offered me a higher salary and much more room for advancement. After working for that company for seven years, they made me a vice president and offered me a percentage of the business. I continued working with that company until we sold out to a larger firm in 2003. In 2003, I was hired by a large company and was given the title of Director of Quality. I was also given a share of the company to allow the company to publici ze that it was a “minority - owned company.” This is very beneficial for obtaining contracts  with the large OEMs. Because of the diverse workforce, and employing so many Hispanic speaking individuals, I took two years of Spanish at a local community college to better my communication with the employees. This has proven to be very beneficial for the company when it comes to employee training. I think I am the only Spanish speaking Native American that still does not know how to speak my own people’s language.  I believe that growing up as a Native American in a small town of mostly white Americans taught me how to tolerate prejudice and how to handle situations of racial tension.
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